Picnic Table Party

The team building picnic tables for the new RV park.

Editor’s note: This column originally appeared on RVTravel.com. Machelle James and her husband, AJ, are building, from the ground up, a 15-acre RV park in Heber-Overgaard, Ariz., in the beautiful White Mountains 140 miles from Phoenix. Read previous articles here. 

As I sit here, trying to remember everything that has happened in the last two weeks, my mind goes blank. As a matter of fact, I can’t remember a time when we’ve worked harder, longer or more feverishly. It’s all melded together like glue and I have to pull the pieces apart to see what has happened at our RV park.

I’ll start off by relating a very last-minute decision to have Jenna stay with her Grandma and Grandpa in California. I am sad to admit that we weren’t giving her the attention she deserves while we work through these last hurdles to open. I reached out and asked for help in watching her so we could work as hard and as late as we can. Thankfully, Grandma and Grandpa said they would watch her for three weeks while we finish up. We are truly thankful for their help. On a side note, I asked Jenna if she missed us and she said, “NO, I’m having fun at Grandma’s!” So that made me laugh and feel good!

RV park picnic table debacle

Next to report is our picnic table debacle. Did you know there is a picnic table shortage? Whether it is wood or composite, you just can’t find any in stock! I knew which ones we wanted for our RV park, but I couldn’t find them anywhere. Come to find out they are being discontinued for some reason and I had to act fast before they were all gone! These are Lifetime tables, rough-cut series. I like the look of wood, the ease of cleaning the composite/resin material. This picnic table was a compromise of what we were looking for. Well, you couldn’t buy them online. We had to call each Home Depot and ask if they had any in stock, as the website wasn’t accurate.

I drove to the valley (two-and-a-half hours away) and stayed with my mom as I was a MISSION to get those tables for our campers! I had to call each store until they found them as they were hidden away on a top shelf in a secret pallet location. The managers couldn’t even find the picnic tables for more than 30 minutes!

I stayed calm as I waited on the phone to see if they were actually in the stores. Once I had confirmation, I told them our campground story and how I needed every table they had. I drove to Mesa with my mom at 9:15 p.m. to get them paid for before they closed for the night, and told them I would come back in two days to pick up those eight tables. I woke up the next day, went to another Home Depot in Apache Junction, and paid for seven more there.

Truck was already full of propane bottles

You see, I had gone to Costco and the bed of my truck was full with 27 propane bottles. We ordered Fire Rings from our local fireman who makes incredibly safe, lightweight and portable propane rings. We will have these for rent during fire season when we cannot have wood-burning fires, but we can have propane fire rings. Hence, I had no room for the picnic tables once I found them.

Well, my picnic table MISSION was far from over as I needed at least 30 more tables. I had to ask for help from family to search for these picnic tables. I am happy to report that our family from Arizona found 20 tables and our California family found 12 tables. They are bringing them out when they come to help the last week before we open our RV park.

I have to say, I have the BEST support system up here and within our families. I had a picnic table assembly party and our friends came over and assembled 20 picnic tables in one day! You have no idea how much stress that took away by having them help us.

On a tree-trimming mission at the RV park


Landscaping work is underway.

I was on a tree-trimming mission that day, so one of the gals and I trimmed 1,500 linear feet of trees and shrubs along the edge of the RV park property. I ran the chainsaw and she threw the limbs in piles. We were a great team in working together and we found our groove too

Next, I had to hire a landscaper to do the interior of the campground. I called for weeks and I couldn’t get any help in the time frame that we needed. Everyone is so busy out here that each job was at least a month out. Or I was just told, “No, we can’t take on a job like this.” I was freaking out as there is NO WAY RV’s could come through and NOT hit their RVs with the low-hanging limbs. I had an idea to call our old landscaper from our home in the Valley. It just so happened he was available and he came up and trimmed the HECK out of each space. I have NEVER seen anyone but him work with such intensity and focus. But there was a reason for not quitting until the job was done.

Time is of the essence to cut limbs at the RV park

We are going into a STAGE 2 FIRE RESTRICTION on Friday.  That means no gas-powered tools, equipment, campfires, charcoal and several other rules. I asked our hard-working landscaper to chainsaw for two straight days, then he could pick up the limbs and take them to the Brush Pit over the next two days. Our property looks like a bomb went off! But in a few days it will look brand-new with all the limbs cleaned up. Also, we are having our fence installed!

Yes, we finally had our 200 fence panels delivered last week. We’ll have a fence-hanging party once the post holes are dug and the concrete is delivered.

To read more, click here.